By Matthew Jordan
NFL win totals for the coming season have been out for weeks at online betting sites and it’s always tough to choose your NFL picks this early as there could be major injuries, etc. But here are three teams I believe who are being overrated on their totals.
Denver Broncos (9.5 Wins)
I don’t see any chance that the Broncos become the first team since the 2003-04 New England Patriots to win back-to-back Super Bowls. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Broncos don’t make the playoffs at all even though they are slight favorite NFL pick at betting sites to win the AFC West Division yet again. Obviously the quarterback position is the biggest question mark. I’d still feel pessimistic on the Broncos even if Peyton Manning hadn’t retired as he clearly was finished last season. The Broncos won the Super Bowl in spite of Manning, not because of him. But I’d rather have a washed-up Manning than Mark Sanchez as my starter. And if it’s not Sanchez, it likely will be rookie Paxton Lynch of Memphis, but he’s a really raw prospect. The Broncos are going to regret not trading for the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick or Eagles’ Sam Bradford as were rumored. This team will have to win with defense in a big way. However, that unit lost two of its best players in end Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan. Super Bowl MVP linebacker Von Miller is threatening to hold out into the regular season if he doesn’t become the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. And star cornerback Aqib Talib recently shot himself (allegedly) in Texas and could be facing legal troubles as well as a potential multi-game NFL suspension. Denver might finish third in its own division behind Kansas City and rising Oakland.
Dallas Cowboys (9.5 Wins)
No team draws more action at sports betting sites than the Dallas Cowboys. They are America’s Team and bettors love to either back the Cowboys or wager against them. A total of 9.5 wins seems rather optimistic for a club coming off a 4-12 season. Do the Cowboys have 4-12 talent? Certainly not on offense as long as quarterback Tony Romo is healthy. He played only four games last season due to breaking his collarbone twice and hasn’t played all 16 since 2012. What makes you think he will in 2016 at age 36? Dallas does have perhaps the NFL’s best offensive line, one of the league’s top receivers in Dez Bryant and the early NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year betting favorite at online betting sites in running back Ezekiel Elliott, the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. But the Cowboys didn’t fix a leaky defense at all this offseason. Their second-round pick was Notre Dame linebacker Jaylen Smith, and he’s not expected to play at all in 2016 coming off a severe knee injury and surgery. The Cowboys might have to win a lot of games 35-31, and they aren’t scoring that many points if Romo isn’t in there.
Los Angeles Rams (7.5 Wins)
The Rams return to Los Angeles this season, but how much of a home-field advantage will they have in laid-back L.A. while playing temporarily in the cavernous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum? Plus the Rams lost one home game as they will play the New York Giants in London in Week 7. Two of the NFC’s top teams, the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks, reside in the Rams’ NFC West Division. So that could be four losses right there. Los Angeles also has tough games at the Jets and Patriots and home to the reigning NFC champion Carolina Panthers. Thus that could be seven losses total. Is L.A. talented enough to go 8-1 in its other nine games to top this total at online sports betting sites? Defensively, yes. And the Rams have the most exciting young running back in the league in 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley. But the offensive line and receivers are question marks. As is rookie QB Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Many scouts don’t think Goff is ready to start in the NFL and could use a year to learn, but he will be thrown to the wolves immediately. That usually doesn’t work out well. Goff is no Andrew Luck.